Calhoun County Circuit Court Judge John Thomason ruled Tuesday in favor of McCrory in a 2009 lawsuit that questioned the mayor’s residency and therefore her ability to hold office in the town. McCrory is scheduled for an Oct. 9 runoff with candidate Eric Stringer for the mayor’s seat.
“I think the judge was fair in his ruling,” McCrory said. “I’m just glad this is over with. This has been a tremendous financial, mental and emotional burden for me.”
Thomason stated in his written decision that based on the testimony and evidence, McCrory is a Hobson City resident and was eligible to hold office in 2008. Thomason added that, “since Mayor McCrory still resides at 100 Church Street as she did in 2008, she is qualified to run as a candidate in the 2012 election and can serve as mayor of Hobson City if elected.”
The lawsuit alleged that McCrory’s residence is in Anniston and not Hobson City, which would make her an ineligible to hold the office. According to Alabama law, a municipal candidate must be a resident of the city he or she plans to run in at least 90 days prior to the election.
McCrory has said she has lived at the home in question with her sister since 2000 and that she is a legal Hobson City resident.
McCrory said she was glad the judge ruled before the runoff.
“This has been a very dark cloud over my head,” McCrory said.
McCrory added that she was thankful to everyone who stood by her during the past four years.
Donald Blankenship, attorney for Sharon Busbee, the Hobson City resident who filed the lawsuit, said he did not yet know if the ruling would be appealed.
“I’ll have to get up with my client,” Blankenship said.
Blankenship said however that he was disappointed with the judge’s decision.
“The law is clear … the physical house has to be in the city limits,” he said.
Evidence presented during the August trial, which lasted one day, included Calhoun County tax records that list McCrory’s home as located in Hobson City. Blankenship however, presented an official Hobson City map produced by the East Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission that indicated part of McCrory’s property was in Anniston’s city limits.
Stringer said he was not surprised by the judge’s decision.
“That’s where I always figured she lived,” Stringer said. “If the property line is wrong, then it’s been wrong for a long time … and that’s not something I would have contested regardless of the outcome of the election.”
Staff writer Patrick McCreless: 256-235-3561. On Twitter @PMcCreless_Star